Hearts of Iron 4 announced


Holy crap, the new mechanics/focus tree for the USA:



Sounds great. A nice side addition to the naval focus of MTG.

Is it just me, or did they remove the ‘Show Dev Responses’ link to filter out the noise of non-PDS staff?


The civil war in KR can be a lot of fun, so I’m hoping it makes for an interesting playthrough.


It wasn’t just you. The layout is also slightly different, so it was probably a software update.


If I remember correctly, I think they are summarizing all the dev responses somewhere now. I saw a tweet about something like that earlier, but I can’t remember the details.


Yes this looks like a ton of fun. I’m not much of alt history when it comes to HOI IV, but I’ll definitely play game as Fascist America after reading Philip Roth Plot against America, not to mention a certain President.

I’ve played a several games as America and they can be great fun if German is doing well, and the US come into save the day. But if, as often happens German and/or Japan flounder, then you feel like you’ve wasted a lot of time. The new mechanic should make playing America much more interesting.


So there is a locked thread on the HoI4 forum with an interesting response from the game’s current AI dev:

“why you are not fixing this”: We have a prioritization system. I have a lot of other higher prio tasks before I can fix bugs in AI. I would want to commit more time to AI and fix things but it takes a lot of time, which I usually don’t have the luxury of comitting. Most of the time things work correctly, and we are generally OK about the state of AI.

I can understand the decision to lock the thread, given how comments can quickly become personally hurtful for the devs. Still, I was kind of shocked that “fixing bugs in AI” isn’t considered a high priority task anymore. The game AI has improved a lot, but it is still the game’s weakest point. Especially because the mistakes that the battleplan AI commits are highly visible to the player and not something the mod community can deal with.


That’s not really how I read the post. He mentions in the thread that he’s not the AI dev, they all handle the AI work in their respective areas. There’s always plenty of AI bugfixes in each patch so I don’t think it’s not a priority, but rather you have to prioritize how much time you spend on a particular bug vs new features or other tasks. From the context, I also get the impression it’s a general response to forums complaints of “Why don’t you fix this particular bug that’s my personal pet peeve?”.

We deal with those issues all the time on the software I work on as well. I’d love to fix every last niggling issue users have, but if it works the majority of the time, there’s a viable workaround for the problem, or the time investment is going to be large and the payoff relatively small there’s really no choice but to shuffle it down the priority list. Bugfixes are nice but they don’t keep the lights on, unfortunately.


Looks cool, and it makes me pain for a much more readable font in the game. It is literally draining playing some of their games because everything is just so hard to read their stuff. The background colors, font colors, subtle blurs of the text. They must have bionic eyes there in Sweden.


My reading is that he’s the AI dev as much as anyone is at this point. It makes sense for people to work on the AI for new features they are developing, since they understand the features the best. Still, they used to say that not every dev could do AI work and it needed a special set of skills. Which I also agree with, at least for the difficult AI tasks they have in the game such as tactical movement of troops.

I guess it depends on perspective, but the remaining AI issues don’t seem at all niggling to me. Probably 75% of the time I spend issuing orders to land units is an attempt to preempt, work-around or correct some AI problem. I can understand if they think the RoI on further efforts to improve this aspect is relatively low, but to me that would be because the problem is starting to become intractable with their current constraints, not because the potential improvements in gameplay are small.

Maybe it’s just my personal interest in the technical challenge, but to me the problems warrant a person working on them full time. That was my impression of where they were at. So to me, it’s news that this stuff is shuffled down to low priority.


New DD on admiral traits and modding improvements

Extending the general traits to admirals seems like a nice bit of chrome. Also:

There are stuff like Ironside if you want to focus on powerful capital ships, Air Controller for carrier abilities as well as things like Blockade Runner, Concealment Expert and Silent Hunter for raiders. There are also paths for improving the use of lighter ships under Flyswatter and Fleet Protector. This matters because light ships are going to get a whole lot more necessary for your fleets and naval operations.

My recent experience with the Union of Britain underlined the importance of escorts even under the current system, but it is currently in a weird place where you want the escort in order to find the enemy but once you’ve found them, you’d rather the escort weren’t there because they will get wrecked. A better interplay between the classes is much desired.

Edit: The dev presenting the modding improvements is also the closest thing they have to an AI dev at the moment.


What happened to SteelVolt?


He was last active on the forum late August so it looks like he’s still around. His avatar is still a HOI4 one, but it’s possible he was moved onto other projects (after 1.4, maybe?).


New DD on naval repair and critical hits

Looks pretty sweet. You set the max number of dockyards that can be diverted from regular construction to repair ships. Also, capital ships can only have up to 5 dockyard assigned to them, so they take a historical amount of time to build (but you can still build just as many BBs within 3 years, they just build in parallel).


I also think I like the sound of critical hits. While probably not a major factor, I do think it’ll add some storytelling as suggested.

HOI4’s production system remains one of the best aspects of the game, but I think I would agree that it hasn’t been as good of a fit for the navy as land. Sounds like this is likely changing with this DD as well as the future one on the ship designer and refitting.


The main worry I have with the ship design is if the more detailed design simply allows more scope for the player to walk over the AI. On the design of army units, the series has gone from fixed units to divisions designed at the brigade level to divisions designed at the battalion level. Each increment has been another lever for the player to accumulate advantage over the vanilla AI.

On the one hand, I can’t wait to be designing my super-awesome battleships. On the other hand, if player-designed ships are about 50% better than AI-designed ships, we have a problem.


Governments in Exile for democracies and some Imperial Federation stuff for the Brits.


I guess this is kind of cool, but mostly affecting things at the margins. I most want to find out how naval warfare is going to work, but that’s the stuff they will probably talk about towards the end.


Yeah, not a major dev diary / feature, although I could see it being a bigger deal in MP games. I’m really looking forward to the naval details as well.


I agree at this point, I kinda of hope this the end of the line for the expansion. Reworking Naval combat, better focus trees and options for the US that awesome. Minelaying, Governments in exile, pretty much a yawn.